Cost and Value
Value of a USC Education
The university prides itself on creating a high-touch environment that ensures all students have access to the world’s best faculty; academic programs that prepare them for the 21st century; high-value internships and career services; and an exceptional residential college experience.
According to the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education survey of more than 1,000 U.S. colleges and universities, USC ranks 15th nationally and third among the 150 universities surveyed in the western United States. The university ranks second in diversity among its private peer universities.
USC tuition increases are at a five-year average low. Over the last six years, the rise of the average net price of a USC education, adjusted for inflation, was just 1 percent. USC’s average net tuition is ranked 134th out of all private, non-profit four-year universities in large part due to its generous financial aid packages.
USC has established one of the largest financial aid pools in the country, with more than $320 million awarded (in the 2015-2016 academic year) from all USC sources, up from $180 million a decade ago. Increases in financial aid at USC consistently outpace increases in tuition. Since 2009, the percentage of university aid rose at double the percentage of tuition increases.
Supporting Access for Students from Diverse Backgrounds
Nearly two-thirds of all USC students receive some form of financial aid. The university’s need-blind admission process helps identify the best students, regardless of their ability to pay. This helps increase access to the university for students from all backgrounds:
- 22 percent are underrepresented minorities;
- 21 percent are eligible for Pell Grants; and
- 14 percent of the undergraduate student body are “first-gen,” the first in their family to attend college.
USC is among the leading private universities in its generous support for these groups of students.
Lower Than Average Student Debt
Because of the university’s commitment to affordability, students leave USC with lower-than-average student debt. USC students accumulate about $24,000 in debt during their tenure at USC as compared to the national average of nearly $33,000 for private colleges and about $29,000 for all universities. In addition, borrowing by USC students has decreased over the last few years, although that decision is left to individual families.